Sales & Marketing Professionals-Pine Belt (SMP) announced the winners of the 2020 Pinnacle Awards in a multi-stage celebration of marketing accomplishments all over the city. The Pinnacle Awards recognize, promote and honor excellence, professionalism and outstanding achievement in Sales and Marketing in The Pine Belt.
“SMP’s Pinnacle Awards represent an opportunity to recognize successful public relations colleagues for their efforts and achievements in 2019. Typically, we announce the awards and celebrate our winners’ contributions at our yearly gala, but like many industries, we needed to get creative while adhering to social distancing guidelines,” said Michael Marks, event chair. “This year’s event really could not have been more fun!”
Instead of the traditional gala, surprise celebrations were planned all over the city. SMP board members presented trophies at recognizable locations all over Hattiesburg from the steps of City Hall to the Museum District downtown. Hattiesburg Half-Marathon, 10k, and 5k runners delivered trophies at each celebration adorned with masks bearing the SMP/Pinnacle logo; this exciting addition was reminiscent of the Olympic passing of the torch.
The winners were chosen from an impressive group of finalists, all of which have contributed greatly to sales and marketing in the Pine Belt. The finalists for the Pinnacle Awards were: After School Academics and Arts Program, Blu Jazz Café, Casablanca/Partners for the Arts, Katie Dixon, Dog Days 5K/Hub City Service Dogs, Festival South 10th Anniversary, Forrest Funeral Home, Here We Grow/ University of Southern Mississippi’s Children’s Center, Hattiesburg Public School District’s Strings Program, Petal School District Foundation, Southern Tire Mart, SVN/Southgate Realty, LLC, Speakeasy/Dubard School, West Nile Event/YMCA.
This year’s Pinnacle Award winners:
2020 Overall Pinnacle Award: Vasti Jackson
SMP Event Chair, Michael Marks, assisted by Richton native and Miss Presley Heights, Katelyn Brown, presented the award to Vasti Jackson, the official Mississippi Music Ambassador, making him the first individual to receive the Overall Pinnacle honor. In years past, the award has exclusively gone to businesses, but because of Jackson’s continued ingenuity and marketing savvy, it was clear this year’s Overall Pinnacle Award should go to him. Jackson, originally from McComb, MS, has enjoyed an illustrious, 43-year career as an electric blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer. In 2017, at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, Jackson’s album, The Soul of Jimmie Rodgers, won the Best Traditional Blues Album category. Jackson is currently starring in the musical, Simply the Best: The Tina Turner Story, as Ike Turner. In addition to his work in the music industry, Jackson values giving back in meaningful ways. In conjunction with his acceptance of the Overall Pinnacle Award, Jackson announced the formation of a new 501 (c)3 organization, a foundation to help the nursing community, inspired by his song Healing Angel.
“Healing Angel” is our way of expressing gratitude for those who offer their caring as a gift of health, and healing,” said Jackson.
Visit the following link for more information about Healing Angel: https://youtu.be/v__o8V8iQaA. Healing Angel is available online at all digital music platforms.
Business of the Decade/Lifetime Achievement Award: Forrest General Hospital’s Women and Children’s Services
The very first Business of the Decade Award was presented by Event Chair, Michael Marks, to Millie Swan, vice president, Forrest Health.
“As the nation refocuses its attention on equal rights for women, we note that over the years Forrest General’s Women and Children’s Services has provided careers and leadership opportunities for women in the workplace. In the era of CoVid-19, that leadership now constitutes a critical mass of healthcare heroes on the frontlines of a pandemic,” said Marks.
Over the past decade, Forrest General has made tremendous strides for women in the Pine Belt community from the thousands of career and leadership opportunities to offering the highest quality healthcare as evidenced by several prestigious awards.
Among those honors are becoming the first Baby-Friendly Hospital in the state and the first hospital in the state to be named a Blue Distinction® Center+ of Excellence for Maternity Care by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi. Both of these awards follow strict, evidence-based criteria for their requirements ensuring mothers and babies only the highest quality care at facilities with these designations.
With over 8,000 members, Forrest General is also the exclusive Spirit of Women hospital for Mississippi, having attained Premier status in recognition of strong efforts in moving women to take action for their health! Spirit of Women® is a national network of American hospitals and healthcare providers that ascribe to the highest standards of excellence in women’s health, education, and community outreach.
Bernice Linton Events Award: Hattiesburg Half-Marathon, 10K, and 5K
Colleen Munkel, SMP vice president of programs, presented the first Bernice Linton Events Award to the Pinebelt Foundation for their exemplary work on the Hattiesburg Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k. Rhonda Hayden, race director, accepted the award on behalf of the Pinebelt Foundation. The Hattiesburg Half-Marathon, 10k, and 5k race is the region’s premier race experience that simultaneously provides a platform for area nonprofits to raise awareness and funding for their diverse charitable work. Fourteen charities benefited from this year’s virtual race alone; those charities were: The Historic Downtown Association, R3SM, Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera, Rise, The 3D School, Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center, The Arc, Laughs4Life, Laurel Christian School, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Habitat for Humanity, Presbyterian Christian School, Southern Pines Animal Shelter, and Pinebelt Foundation. Last year’s event drew over 1,000 runners to the Hattiesburg area, not only raising funds for charity, but also boosting Hattiesburg’s economy. The 2019 race brought in more than $200,000 for the 14 participating charities. Additionally, through its Charity Runners Program, the race enables each of the charities to recruit runner, raise funds, and educate the public about their organizations.
Bud Kirkpatrick Outstanding Professional Award: Andy Stetelman, realtor
The Bud Kirkpatrick Outstanding Professional Award was presented by Amanda Kirby, SMP vice president of membership. Stetelman also got a special shoutout from Great American Country star, Nan Kelley, all the way from her studio in Nashville. A graduate of USM, Stetelman has been working with one of the largest property management and commercial real estate firms in Mississippi, London & Stetelman, in various roles since 1975. Stetelman is the first realtor in Hattiesburg to specialize in commercial real estate and manages one million square feet of lease space in commercial and multi-family properties. He has received recognition as Mississippi Commercial Realtor of the Year, published articles in Realtor News and Mississippi Realtor, and most recently was awarded Small Business Leadership Award for his area development partnership with William Carey University and the HUB Award. No stranger in the Hattiesburg community, Stetelman has served many charitable organizations over the years including the City of Hattiesburg Homeless Task Force, Mission Possible/Hood Team Honduras Mission, and the Pinebelt Foundation board.
Charlie Holt Outstanding Business Award: Spartan Mosquito
Kristen Brock presented the Charlie Holt Outstanding Business Award to Brett Conerly, president of Spartan Mosquito. Spartan Mosquito experienced tremendous growth from August 2018 to August 2019 thanks to the tireless efforts of AC2T management and the diligent support of local partners. By mid-April 2019, all products capable of being produced for the remainder of 2019 were purchased in advance. A few months later, all products capable of being produced for 2020 were sold out in advance. The remarkable growth in sales generated additional financial resources enabling philanthropic efforts locally and internationally. Among their many efforts to aid in public safety, Spartan worked to institute the first Mosquito Awareness Week in Mississippi to inform the public about prevention measures for West Nile Virus. Most recently, in response to CoVID-19, Spartan Mosquito provided 60,000 masks for the city’s use followed by a sizable gift of hand sanitizer.
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